A photo of President Trump at the White House Christmas tree lighting ceremony Wednesday night that showed Trump with crosshairs on his back was posted and then deleted by a local D.C. reporter after complaints it looked liked an assassin’s rifle scope view.
The photo was one of several incidents that raised security concerns about President Trump at the event, including his abrupt departure from the ceremony without the travel press pool.
Tom Roussey, with WJLA-TV, posted the photo to Twitter with the caption, “President @realDonaldTrump watching the performances at the National Christmas Tree lighting (as seen through the zoom lense (sic) of our @ABC7News camera).”
The vantage point of the photo was from behind and had white crosshairs on Trump’s upper back, just below his head, as he sat next to First Lady Melania.
Roussey deleted the photo and posted a lengthy apology embedded in a tweet, “Hi everybody, I just want to apologize and I couldn’t fit it in a regular tweet. I’m really sorry. It’s my fault but I hope you can forgive.”
Hi everybody, I just want to apologize and I couldn’t fit it in a regular tweet. I’m really sorry. It’s my fault but I hope you can forgive. pic.twitter.com/U4GfB6guc0
— Tom Roussey (@tomroussey7news) November 29, 2018
Earlier this year CNN’s Chris Cillizza deleted a tweet that showed President Trump in the crosshatch of a scope, blaming a default setting in a GIF program.
While Roussey’s apology was accepted by many Wednesday night, others were skeptical.
There is also a concern about red dots that appeared on the front of President Trump as he spoke at the Christmas Tree lighting. The lights were most likely reflections on the bulletproof glass in front of Trump, but their placement on Trump’s head and chest was upsetting to some.
President Trump abruptly left the ceremony at some point after the lighting, leaving the White House press pool behind in a breach of protocol, reported Bloomberg’s Justin Sink, “after 15 minutes held at the site of the christmas tree lighting with no explanation of why the motorcade left without us, we’re back at the white house and they’ve called a lid, meaning we won’t see the president again today.”
McClatchy’s Anita Kumar was the print pool reporter and also reported being left behind.
I am the White House print pooler tonight. That means I am supposed to be with @POTUS. Instead, I and the rest of the pool, were left at an event while POTUS returned to the White House.
— Anita Kumar (@anitakumar01) November 28, 2018
Shortly afterward the Secret Service posted a tweet about protecting the ceremony, “Since the inaugural National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 1923, the Secret Service has been there to protect the First Family and all those in attendance. Today is no different, because protection never rests.
Since the inaugural National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in 1923, the Secret Service has been there to protect the First Family and all those in attendance. Today is no different, because protection never rests. #NeverMissedATreeLighting pic.twitter.com/go2NgsK0fw
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) November 29, 2018